I don’t always have something to say. Even when I do, it’s not always clever. That’s very difficult to admit. I enjoy being the most clever person in the room. Even when the only other person in the room is a dog. She often indulges me though.
I don’t know when I attached myself to this notion of precociousness, but it’s always been there as far as I remember. I didn’t need people to talk to me, so much as I desired to have them talk about me.
I wanted to stick in their mind as being something odd or unusual, something more than or less than or just slightly askew of..
I would go out of my way to say something mildly provocative when leaving somewhere, with the consideration that after the door closed behind me the conversation would inevitably be “what an intelligent little girl.” I didn’t even need to hear it, imagining it happening was enough. And I was sure it was happening.
I remember reading somewhere, ‘people would be less concerned with what others thought of them, if they realized how seldom they do it.’ I honestly didn’t think that applied to me, not that I was concerned what they were thinking. Just that they were.
Even this, here and now. If I was so damn gung-ho on writing stuff, would I need to publish it? Granted, there is so much that I write that I never show anyone, because I write incessantly. Sometimes just a line, sometimes pages of rambling. I try to filter the most coherent into the spaces where I will share it. Because sharing is important, but not necessarily for the reasons I think it might be. It’s not just the reaction. Because it doesn’t stop when someone else sees it. If someone reads something I wrote, and says, ‘that’s pretty good Trish’ I’m convinced I got what I came for. I am validated. My ego is soothed that we’re creating things that are received well by our peers and there is no consideration for the message beyond that. I’m not sure that’s very responsible, but honestly, I’ve never really considered such things to any extent before. But things are shifting, it would seem. I’m starting to re-examine what I’m doing, what I’d like to put out there, rather than just spewing my thoughts into the ether and hoping that they have some moderately coherent benefit.
I get caught up in the pendulum swing of ‘it’s ok to have an ego that desires people to acknowledge what we’re doing is not so bad, perhaps even relevant in moments’ all the way over to ‘the ego is evil and we need to dispel any association that something so petty can have so much influence on daily existence’.
It’s maddening because honestly I don’t totally understand what ego is. If it’s a part of me, why do I have to spend so much time trying to dispel it? Why am I spending so much time compartmentalizing myself and trying to lock away or exorcise those parts unpalatable or disagreeable? Why can’t I live with it and adapt to it and understand when it’s necessary and when it needs to shut the fuck up and grasp humility? Am I confusing ego with confidence? There are so many moments, so many, when I needed that voice inside me to kick me in the pants and scream, “you got this!” so that I could step out of my shell/comfort zone/ safety bubble/whatever. Does it matter if that voice comes from a place where I intrinsically know ‘I got this’ or if it’s from a delusional ego driven place of ‘I’m the most clever person in the room. How could I not have this?’
That’s not to suggest that there is no place for humility. There will always be greater and lesser than me, in everything.
There will always be writers I will read and want to rip my hair out with a sense of futility because they already said the thing I was thinking in such an eloquent way I should just go back to bed and stop trying, regardless of the fact that they said it from the perspective of someone who is 5’10 and british.
Then there are things that I read and want to tear my hair out because “this got published?!!! And people read it and liked it? It’s so obviously shite!!”
I know, I know. That’s just like, my opinion, man.
But seriously, the pendulum is a force of much consternation in my life. I’ve tried to exist in the happy medium. I still try, I will keep trying. But perhaps the trouble isn’t in the seeming lack of balance, perhaps it’s only this perspective that I’ve convinced myself there is a pendulum at all.
What if it’s a teeter totter? A see saw? This is a perspective that not only encourages and requires sharing, but is dependent on reciprocation.
Have you ever tried to play on a teeter totter on your own? It totally sucks. It tooottallly suuuuuuuuucks. Ok, truth, You can play on one on your own, as long as you stay more or less in the middle. You can achieve a balance of sorts and stay there forever, dependent on no one, engaged in the struggle to keep from moving too far to one side or the other, for fear that the equilibrium is lost.
But remember that feeling when you push off and there’s a moment when the two of you are at exactly the same level and then, because of the counter balance you soar into the sky, pinned there because your friend is holding you up? And then they push off and your stomach drops just a little as you glide down and it’s exhilarating and you can’t help but giggle just a bit as your butt hits the ground if you chose not to put your feet out?
I was going to say something about the douchey friend who gets up suddenly and leaves you there to crash down without any counterweight, but sometimes that’s the kind of friend you need too.
And even if the perspective of the pendulum isn’t wrong, perhaps my thinking that it’s something to be slowed or stopped is askew. How boring would playing on the swings be if they just stayed static in the middle? Really really boring. There will always be days of toes stretched tight, reaching towards the horizon and there will be days when I curl into myself and push backwards away from the world but that’s how I gain momentum. Forward and back, this cosmic dance of teetery pendulum swing, even sometimes around and around, a spirally merry go round of giddy, garbled, and goddamnit. The trouble comes when I get caught up in the apparent seriousness of it all. When I feel like there is only one right way, one true path, one proper perspective. The thing I’m doing/writing/eating/reading/listening to today does not define me. It does not lock me in and keep me from finding new ways to express myself, new things to try.
And besides, in the words of Bill Hicks, who was most assuredly the most clever person in any room he was in, it’s just a ride. The choice is simple. Fear? Or Love?
I choose love. It’s way more fun.